Celebrating Hogmanay in Edinburgh

December 14, 2013 by

Best Of Lists, Festivals & Events

Edinburgh Castle is the place to party on Hogmanay, er, New Years’ Eve!

The rest of us call it New Year’s Eve, but in Scotland, it’s known as Hogmanay. By any name, it’s a night to party and nobody knows how to party better than the Scots. The Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations are some of the largest in the world with celebrations spread over 4 days, starting with a torchlight procession on December 30th.

Thousands of people carrying torches form a river of fire down the Royal Mile and across to Calton Hill where a firework display illuminates the city skyline. On December 31st, there’s a massive street party and open-air music concert set against a backdrop of Edinburgh Castle, followed by a dazzling show of fireworks to mark the strike of midnight.

Next on the agenda is possibly the most challenging event: The Loony Dook. Yes, those mad Scots throw themselves into the icy waters of the Firth of Forth on New Year’s Day to raise money for charity. There’s a parade through Queensferry before the dunking, which happens in view of the Forth Bridge; spectacular and fun for those who stay warm and dry on the edge. Then it’s the New Year Games, a series of playful events developed by artists and held in St Giles Cathedral, the National Gallery of Scotland and The Grassmarket. Luckily the government gives a day or two of public holiday to let people recover after all this merriment.

Philippa Burne


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